This time of year, at Animal Hospital of Sullivan County, we have seen a big uptick (please excuse the pun) in cases where we are treating them for infestations of fleas and ticks.
Fleas and ticks are dangerous disease causing parasites that can cause a serious threat to your pet’s health and your well-being too. The medical threat of fleas and ticks to pets can be a grave one if left undetected and untreated, particularly if your cat or dog spends a lot of time outdoors. They cause various illnesses like Feline Hemotrophic Mycoplasma, Bartonella (cat scratch disease), Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichosis.
When your dog or cat steps outside, there’s hundreds of thousands of fleas and ticks just waiting to jump in your pet’s fur. It is very important that your pet get screened annually for these vector-borne diseases, and if found, be treated as soon as possible.
You should generally make it a daily habit to examine your dog or cat head to tail to try to detect a flea or tick infestation. Common symptoms of fleas are a pet’s periodic or constant itching, biting, and hair loss. Not all dogs and cats show symptoms of a flea infestation. If a dog or cat is infested, tapeworm “segments” may also appear in their stool as well.
The best way to detect fleas is to lift the hair at the base of the dog’s or cat’s tail and look for the black specks that are the fecal matter of fleas or for jumping fleas. When bathing your dog, a flea infestation will appear as a reddish color in the runoff water. Do a complete body check for ticks. Some of their favorite places are in the head and neck area but they can be found anywhere on the body.
Fleas are biting, bloodsucking organisms that cause secondary skin infections in dogs and cats. They transmit tapeworms and their saliva can cause allergic reactions, which can lead to scratching, hair loss and infection. The tapeworms feed on your cats and dogs blood, so a large infestation can result in medical disorders such as anemia. Severe flea infestations can cause death due to blood loss.
Any of the flea or tick born diseases listed above can cause severe illness or death. Cat scratch disease can make a cat very sick and it transmittable to a person through a scratch or saliva. If you pet has ticks they can drop off in the house or in your bed and can give you any of the tick born diseases.
Fleas do not actually make a home in your dog’s fur, but bounce around, hitch hiking their way from the outside to the inside of your home, where they lay their eggs on both your pet and in the home. One female flea is capable of producing thousands of eggs (50 per day), which hatch in stages over a three to six month period.
This time of year, it’s a good idea to call us at Animal Hospital of Sullivan County to make an appointment not only for a flea and tick examination, but also to sit down and talk about your flea and tick prevention habits for your pet.
We will evaluate your pet’s flea and tick treatment taking into consideration how many and what kind of pets are in your home, how much time your pet spends outside, and even how much time you spend traveling and where you go with your dog and cat. We will provide you with flea and tick prevention products you should be using based on this evaluation and what you should be doing in terms of your home and yard.
So get “ticked off” about protecting your pet and make an appointment today!